Book Review: Travelling Light by Vickie Johnstone

Water on leaves

I have just finished reading self-published author Vickie Johnstone’s e-book of poetry, Travelling Light. The book consists of thirty-eight poems that can easily be read in one sitting. Most of them are pretty short and all are quite simple in their use of language.

For the most part, I was disappointed with the read and found that the poems did not resonate with me personally. I felt they lacked in creating an impact and that many of the lines in the poems were redundant and repetitive. Often, too many of the same words were used throughout a poem, leaving it to fall flat and become tiresome. Most of the pieces are overwrought with adjectives also, which is one main reason the poems did not have any staying power for me. They became too muddled and stale.

I also felt that many of the descriptions were rather cliché and brought nothing fresh to my mind or emotions.
However, it was obvious that the author does have passion, that she simply missed the mark and that perhaps more instruction or experience would make her work better.

Regardless of not caring much for this short collection as a whole, there were a few poems I thought were decent, such as “Rain”, “Mother”, “Sigh”, “Faith” and “Strings”, with “Strings” probably being my favorite. I also liked one of the Haiku poems:

“Plunging from the sky
Trickling over every leaf
The rain smells green.”

I like how the author described the rain as “smelling green”. It created a good visual and evoked a connection to nature and rain for me. Another poem in the collection titled “Play” is a children’s poem that is rather cute, though it did not seem to fit in with the rest of the collection.

Upon looking up more information on the author during my review, I discovered that she was a Finalist in the Children’s Book category of National Indie Excellence Book Awards of 2013, for her self-published book titled Kiwi and the Serpents of the Isle. No doubt by the list of what she has self-published, she does take her writing seriously and perhaps her stories that I have never read are far better than this short collection of poems.

I really wish I would have enjoyed the book more and seen less use of so many adjectives. I do admire the author’s effort and output regardless, and was glad there were at least a few poems I liked. It is very possible her poetry may develop to a deeper level over time, or that she will remain most skillful in story writing.

Heather Lenz

Heather Lenz

Poetry Editor at Stepping Stones Magazine
Heather Lenz is a poet, editor and visual artist. Her poems have appeared in both online and print publications such as Enigma Rag, Mind Eclipse, Adoration, The Monarch Review, Carcinogenic Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, Falling Star Magazine, Because We Write and others. Born and raised in Washington State, she continues to explore new outlets for her art, which birthed Ravens Among Me, a site dedicated to her creative expression.
Heather Lenz

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